Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Research Shows In The Animal World, It Pays To Be An Imposter

Date:
January 25, 2005
Source:
Marine Biological Laboratory
Summary:
For the giant Australian cuttlefish, mating is a complicated undertaking complete with fighting, sneaking, and deception. In this week’s issue of the journal Nature, Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) senior scientist Roger Hanlon and his colleagues demonstrate that for this species, deception while mating pays off.

Giant Australian cuttlefish.
Credit: Photo credit: Roger Hanlon

WOODS HOLE, MA (January 19, 2005) -- For the giant Australian cuttlefish, mating is a complicated undertaking complete with fighting, sneaking, and deception. In this week’s issue of the journal Nature, Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) senior scientist Roger Hanlon and his colleagues demonstrate that for this species, deception while mating pays off.

Related Articles


Hanlon and his team present behavioral and genetic data demonstrating that small male cuttlefish that dramatically alter their appearance to look like females are highly successful in tricking their often larger male competitors and fertilizing the female’s eggs. While the sexual mimicry that the cuttlefish employ has been widely reported in nature, this is the first time fertilization success in an animal using this strategy has been documented.

Hanlon and his colleagues studied the cuttlefish (Sepia apama) in a remote coastal area of the Australian outback. For ten days they painstakingly observed and filmed the intense mating competition between the females and their suitors, including large “guard” males, smaller “sneaker” males, who attempt to mate with females as the guard fights other males, and males who mimic the appearance of a female. In contrast to some other animals, whose ability to mimic is part of their genetic makeup, giant Australian cuttlefish use neural control to instantly change their skin patterning, posture, and tactics. According to Hanlon the cuttlefish can switch between a male and female appearance 10 to 15 times per minute. “In the blink of an eye they can pull out of it and go back to being a male,” he says.

Using DNA fingerprinting, Hanlon and his team found that the mimickers were successful in fertilizing females 60 percent of the time. The results, they say, are surprising since female cuttlefish of this species reject most mating attempts by any type of male 70 percent of the time. “This is not an easy behavior to study,” says Hanlon. “But we hope that our paper will engage other behavioral ecologists to go out and study mating systems of other animals to refute or support what we found.”

###

The Marine Biological Laboratory is an independent scientific institution, founded in 1888, dedicated to improving the human condition through basic research and education in biology, biomedicine, and environmental science. MBL hosts research programs in cell and developmental biology, ecosystems studies, molecular biology and evolution, neurobiology, behavior, global infectious diseases and sensory physiology. Its intensive graduate-level educational program is renowned throughout the life sciences. The MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the western hemisphere.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Marine Biological Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Marine Biological Laboratory. "New Research Shows In The Animal World, It Pays To Be An Imposter." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 January 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050124005322.htm>.
Marine Biological Laboratory. (2005, January 25). New Research Shows In The Animal World, It Pays To Be An Imposter. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050124005322.htm
Marine Biological Laboratory. "New Research Shows In The Animal World, It Pays To Be An Imposter." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050124005322.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) You've probably seen some weird-looking dinosaurs, but have you ever seen one this weird? It's worth a look. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins